Average iTunes Library = 3K Songs And Is Heavily Mislabeled [And Other Interesting Stats]

Average iTunes Library = 3K Songs And Is Heavily Mislabeled [And Other Interesting Stats]

TuneUp founder and CEO Gabe Adiv. Photo by Isaac Wexman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/isaacwexman/3555918326/in/set-72157618654001924/

TuneUp is the #1 add-on for iTunes. It cleans up song metadata like missing album info or misspelled names. It also delivers related music videos, and alerts you when favorite artists are playing in town.

It’s easy to use and can do a quick job of cleaning up the messiest library. But it’s not perfect: songs can be mislabeled and there’s been complaints of bugs and crashes. TuneUp costs $39.95/yr or $49.95 one time fee for a bundle. TuneUp also offers a la carte pricing for individual products. A free demo cleans up to 50 songs and removes 25 duplicates.

Yesterday I got a chance to talk to Gabe Adiv, founder and CEO of TuneUp Media,company behind the plug-in.

He gave me some interesting statistics about iTunes and listening habits, as well as thoughts about Apple moving music into the cloud.

Talking Wednesday from the company’s San Francisco headquarters, CEO Adiv said there’s been a 20% increase in sales since Apple’s iCloud announcement, which is surprising.

When it’s rolled out in the fall, Apple’s iTunes Match will use audio fingerprinting technology — not music metadata — to identify tunes (it’s using Gracenote’s MusicMatch, as we exclusively revealed). Which means it doesn’t make much difference whether your song and artist info is in order. Apple will recognize your music library by the songs’ fingerprints, and will presumably clean up any mislabeling when it reflects your library in the cloud. So why the sudden interest in cleaning up iTunes using TuneUp?

It’s because users want to see parity between their local collections and cloud collections, Adiv said. They want Apple’s iCloud to accurately reflect their music collections when they’re whisked up into the cloud. So they’re cleaning their libraries up now to make the transition smoother and cleaner.

“TuneUp serves as a laundry service before you pack your music up in to the cloud suitcase,” he said.

Here are some other stats Adiv mentioned:

  • 3,000 tracks — the average iTunes library for TuneUp customers (who tend to skew to serious music listeners with bigger collections)
  • 100,000 songs — the size of some of the biggest libraries, which run to terabytes of data
  • 90 percent of iTunes music libraries have missing or incorrect metadata
  • 30 percent of songs in those libraries are mislabeled
  • 4 million registered users use TuneUp
  • 3 billion tracks — the number of songs TuneUp has cleaned up
  • 6x conversion rate — TuneUp compared to similar metadata meat grinders (because it’s well-integrated into iTunes, Adiv says)
  • 10 files, or 1 CD — the number of files most trial users clean before buying full product
  • 5 percent — the percentage of songs purchased from iTunes in the average iTunes library

Adiv said most people listen only to a fraction of their music libraries, even if they run to thousands of tracks. It’s the exact same consumption pattern as CDs and LPs. People tend to listen mostly to new stuff. They obsess over a new track or album and play it to death until the are sick of it.

Adiv personally uses Pandora to find new music but he buys songs he likes because he wants to listen to it on demand.

This is why streaming services will not have a massive impact on music-buying habits just yet: people like to own music collections.

“People like to have a collection of music and they like to listen to it on demand,” he said. “The cloud and streaming technology hasn’t caught up yet.”

  • quietstorms

    The reason why subscription services haven’t taken off is that they still cost too much (it should be $5/month) and if they cancel their service they lose their music. If you use a subscription service and decide to get rid of your music library then that service becomes a lifelong commitment.

  • Boo Yaho

    And in other articles that aren’t blatant advertisements…

  • chrismarciano

    The stats are also a bit misleading. The “average” user is actually the average tuneup user, no the average iTunes user. It would stand to reason that the person who would use tune up is someone who would have horribly organized systems. Does this mean the average iTunes user does not have horribly managed music? No, they probably do, but this can’t really be ascertained based on stats provided in a press release.

    There are plenty of people like me who meticulously organize their music down to mood and style. I mostly use thegodfather on Windows and scrape allmusic for moods/styles/tempo/composers…

    The time I used tuneup, it was atrocious. Wanted to split CDs around various different compilations/soundtracks/other things. If I rip tracks from a CD, I expect it will stay with that CD.

  • scott ronan

    To be honest I tried Tune Up and found it messed my Library up even further and I ended up using Time Machine to go back to my previous Library.  I have a lot of vinyl that I have ripped and added to my Library and it simple could’nt find these in its DB or anywhere else as a lot of them are promos or bootlegs that were never officially released.

  • scott ronan

    To be honest I tried Tune Up and found it messed my Library up even further and I ended up using Time Machine to go back to my previous Library.  I have a lot of vinyl that I have ripped and added to my Library and it simple could’nt find these in its DB or anywhere else as a lot of them are promos or bootlegs that were never officially released.

  • appledrunk

    While I do usually take the time to organize my library quite well (and download files with proper meta data) I do still find there are some files buried at the bottom of my Library with incorrect tags. I could manually fix them, but I may just give TuneUp a try.


  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    I practically have to spend all my time at Discogs.com for my freestyle and disco music metadata and even that isn’t good enough.  I’ve got to use Amazon to get at least some info from compilation CDs, then I have to head to the freestyle or disco blogs hoping they’ve got some data and album art.  No album art, then I have to make up my own art.  I only have about 5,000 songs, and they all have album art but I have to pretty much guess at release dates on some of them.  What gets me is why there are so many record labels that don’t put release dates on their vinyls.  Trying to track down release dates on promos are almost impossible.  So many small record companies have gone out of business over the past 30 or so years.  Dead ends, dead ends.  It’s funny that on youtube there are artists asking for copies of songs they sang because they don’t even have copies of their own music.  I also never realized how many artists change their names when moving from record label to record label (at least some of the freestyle artists do).  It’s a labor of love and Tune Up isn’t going to help.  iTunes Music Match will do me no good at all when it becomes available.  I’ve never bought one song through iTunes, so I’m left out in the cold.

  • Matt Ralston

    I sorely wish I’d backed up my iTunes library before letting TuneUp anywhere near it. It did little for the music that wasn’t labelled properly and made a complete mess of the stuff that I’d taken the care to sort out manually. When I listen to albums on my iPod now, they’re split up into loads of pieces and some tracks I can’t find at all.

  • jayoen

    I absolutely can’t stand mislabeled songs, especially when I see my friends library and all the info is in the song name field.

    Grinds my gears.

  • Michael Patterson

    I’m also one of those people who’s regretted allowing Tune Up to touch my music library. I’m surprised anyone finds this iTunes ad on anything more than frustrating!

  • John

    I have a small collection, only about 5000 tracks, but 99% of the metadata is right. Every now and then I even run a script that goes out and brings down as many lyrics as possible too, and I manually update album art for tracks I rip from CDs I buy. 

    Usage, I probably listen to new albums mosly when excercising, but for background I have a “Music not played in 2 weeks” smart playlist. I sync that with my phone too. A great way to listen to old tracks I may have even forgotten I have 8)

  • John

    Andyou have to have an internet conenction wherever you listen to it.

  • Ken Cooper

    I have been using TuneUp for over a year and it has done nothing but good for my library. Every once in a while it will mislabel something – but not often. And when it does you can always use the undo. I would highly recommend TuneUp.

  • John Neumann

    I’ve used TuneUp for several years and it has saved my sanity. Yes it did scramble my music folder at first but when I just let iTunes sort out the filing of the music folders instead of imposing my own system, that hassle went away (this was actual files, not the listing in iTunes).

    Overall it does a very good job of labeling and sorting my 30k+ songs (although it did give several Jerry Reed (hey don’t judge me!!) songs chinese characters).

    Could TuneUp be improved? Absolutely. Why did Apple not buy this company and integrate them into iTunes? I have no idea but Apple could certainly learn a few things. 

  • Scott

    I liked this iTunes/iPod stats thing on Facebook, What’s on my iPod?
    but I wanted to get the stats without having to upload my file all the
    time. So, I taught myself a little VB Script and wrote a rudimentary
    stats/metrics program. It basically spits out a bunch of numbers and
    lists to a date-stamped file and it takes about a minute to run for
    every 1,000 songs you have. For me, it takes just over 3 minutes to run
    on my aging home PC (with nearly 5,000 songs).

    You can save it
    anywhere on your PC and double-click on it and it should run. You may
    need to have VB.NET installed, so you can go to the Microsoft Updates
    site for that. I am VERY interested in feedback on this, and I’d welcome
    enhancements to the script as well.

    You can get more information and download it from: http://www.iTunesStats.com

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney.

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